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  • gilwilson 5:30 PM on March 12, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , minnesota, , smuggling,   

    Storm Front (Virgil Flowers, Book 7) By: John Sandford 

    Storm Front (Virgil Flowers, Book 7)51zfwgxB1TL._SL500_
    By: John Sandford
    Narrated by: Eric Conger
    Length: 9 hrs and 21 mins
    Release date: 10-08-13
    Publisher: Penguin Audio

    It’s amazing how many fun stories you can read when you branch out from your norm. For the longest time I was a pure Horror/SciFi only reader. Those two genres pack the punch needed to escape the real world, and that’s what I do when I read. Sure there are some classics that I’ve read but only until recently have I been branching out. It’s funny, it all started with the L. Ron Hubbard pulp fiction re-releases by Galaxy Press that started me on this road.

    Back in 2013 I received on of John Sandford’s novels from Penguin Audio, and for the longest time it sat on my “not-sure-whether-or-not-it-is-my-cup-of-tea” shelf. This is a shelf of audiobooks that sound intriguing but I’m not yet familiar with the author or whether I will like the story. I go to this shelf when I’m not sure what I want to hear. Many times I have started a book from this shelf and have been let down and not able to finish the book. Since then all Sandford novels are in my to be read shelf.

    Sandford first intrigued me with his Lucas Davenport series “_____ Prey” all the books are 2 word titles and the second word is Prey. Lucas Davenport is an investigator with the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension. So basically, he catches criminals. After Sandford’s Prey novels became hugely popular, he launched these Virgil Flowers stories back in 2007. Virgil helped Lucas on a few of his criminal pursuits and became a fun character.

    Before I get into a summary of the book, I have to send out all the adulations to the narrator, Eric Conger. Conger narrates all of the Sandford audiobooks I’ve listened to and he has me hooked. Conger seems to take on the persona of either Virgil Flowers or Lucas Davenport. His voice is a perfect match and whenever I pick up a hard copy of the book to read, in my head I hear Conger’s voice. I’m hoping to discover some other readings by Conger soon.

    In this book Minnesota state investigator Virgil Flowers is working on a case involving Florence ‘Ma’ Nobles and her sons selling counterfeit antique lumber. Part of the reason that Virgil is working so hard is that Ma is very attractive and flirting with him. Sure enough, just before the fun happens Lucas Davenport calls with a new case.

    A Lutheran minister named Elijah Jones who is dying of cancer stole an ancient inscribed stone called a stele from an archaeological dig in Israel and smuggled it home to Minnesota. The Israelis want it back and have dispatched an antiquities expert to bring it back. Simple all Virgil has to do is be the tour guide, pick up the terminally ill minister, and locate the stele. Davenport assures Flowers that he’ll back on his counterfeit lumber case in to time at all. In cop stories no time at all usually means after a couple of weeks of investigation and a few hours of risking your life.

    The plan is to auction the stele off to the highest bidder to get the money needed to care for Jones’ wife suffering from Alzheimer’s after he dies. The stele’s inscription has historic implications that could be very damaging to Israel so Hezbollah has sent a representative to try and obtain it for propaganda purposes. Also coming into the hunt are a couple of Turks that would kill you just as soon as look at you.

    After lots of double crossing and misleading clues and some public media spotlight Virgil solves the case, but not easily.

    Publisher’s Summary

    The thrilling new novel in the number one New York Times – bestselling series.

    In Israel, a man clutching a backpack searches desperately for a boat. In Minnesota, Virgil Flowers gets a message from Lucas Davenport: You’re about to get a visitor. It’s an Israeli cop, and she’s tailing a man who’s smuggled out an extraordinary relic – a copper scroll revealing startling details about the man known as King Solomon.

    Wait a minute, laughs Virgil. Is this one of those Da Vinci Code deals? The secret scroll, the blockbuster revelation, the teams of murderous bad guys? Should I be boning up on my Bible verses?

    He looks at the cop. She’s not laughing. As it turns out, there are very bad men chasing the relic, and they don’t care who’s in the way or what they have to do to get it. Maybe Virgil should start praying.

    ©2013 John Sandford (P)2013 Penguin Audio

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  • gilwilson 3:46 PM on March 24, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , crime story, eric conger, , , mad river, minnesota, , , ,   

    Audiobook Review: “ Mad River” Book 6 in the Virgil Flowers series by John Sandford 

    Mad-River-Virgil-Flowers-John-Sandford

    Audiobook Review: “ Mad River” Book 6 in the Virgil Flowers series
    by John Sandford
    Read by Eric Conger
    Published by Penguin Audio
    Approx. 10 hours.

    John Sandford (a.k.a. John Camp) has made a name for himself in the crime series featuring Lucas Davenport of the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension. Since 2007 he has spun off a series featuring Virgil Flowers, who made his appearance an a few of the “…Prey” series of crime novels. This is the sixth book of the Virgil Flowers series and proves once again that Sandford can keep the audience captivated when it comes to hunting down violent criminals.

    The reader, Eric Conger, delivers this dark crime story in a way that not only captures each and every character in the book but also in a way that sucks you into this disturbing joy-ride of murder and mayhem. His voice work for Virgil Flowers, the main character, is spot on and gives the listener the feel that Virgil is telling you this story himself.

    Yes, this is a very dark and disturbing crime novel in which three teenagers who are going nowhere decide to turn that around and go on a murderous crime spree. Their first murder is what at first, appears to be a botched burglary, but the twist in this story turns that around to bring this investigation to a complete circle.

    Virgil Flowers is called in on this murder as a representative of the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension once the teens really start moving on. The kids kill to get money, kill to get a car and kill a police officer in botched bank robbery. The methods of killing seem to get darker and more vicious as the teens think they are getting away with it. One of the trio wants out and makes contact with Flowers through his number posted on the news cast. Flowers soon learns that everything in this case is definitely not black and white and that the criminals are not all they seem. Explored in this story are also some truths about the justice system.

    Teamed up with a local sheriff, Sheriff Duke, who once put together a concentration camp for juvenile offenders and was ridiculed because of his extreme tactics, Flowers finds himself in a race to bring these kids to justice before the sheriff can exact his own brand of justice.

    Many of the surprising twists and turns in the plot and story will keep you enthralled until the very end and even then there are some unanswered questions which Sandford has written that can easily be understood as questions that just will never have answers.

    This book does not fall into a mystery category by any means and deals primarily with police procedures, but Sandford does keep you guessing.

     
  • gilwilson 3:46 PM on October 2, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: dirty politics, , , minnesota, , , , , richard ferrone, silken prey   

    Audiobook Review: “Silken Prey” By John Sandford 

    silken

    Audiobook Review: “Silken Prey”

    By John Sandford

    Ready by Richard Ferrone

    Published by Penguin Audio

    Approx. 12.5 hours

     

    Once again John Sandford intrigued me through a 12.5 hour mystery.  I was eager to hear what happened next all the way to the very last word.  This book is another Lucas Davenport mystery filled with murders, lies, politics and shady characters.

     

    One thing I have noticed when listening to the Lucas Davenport novels is that every character has such depth and realism written into the character that no matter how extreme the circumstances their reactions make the situation real and surrounds the listener/reader in the story.  This realism makes the listener/reader unable to stop the story until the very end.

     

    The reader, Richard Ferrone, has a vocal delivery that is able to interpret the words of Sandford and make the story come alive.  While he doesn’t perform major vocal gymnastics to give each character a different voice, the listener has no problem differentiating each character’s voice and actions.  Ferrone’s voice perfectly matches what would be expected to be the voice of Lucas Davenport.  Mark Harmon should take heed.

     

    The book opens with a Minnesota political fixer answering his doorbell. The next thing he knows, he’s waking up on the floor of a moving car, lying on a plastic sheet, his body wet with blood. When the car stops, a voice says, “Hey, I think he’s breathing,” and another voice says, “Yeah? Give me the bat.” And that’s the last thing he knows.

     

    The main story then opens with the Minnesota Governor (a Democrat) calling Lucas Davenport and requesting he investigate what is an obvious smear campaign of  Republican Senator, Porter Smalls.  The Governor fears that this smear could completely rock the Minnesota political scene.  Smalls computer was discovered to have kiddie porn by one of his aides, but the means of discovery seems just too easy.

     

    During the investigation a missing political fixer’s name keeps coming up and the finger seems to not only point at him but also at the Democratic Senatorial candidate Taryn Grant.  Grant, is a super wealthy heiress who seems to let nothing stand in between her and the Senate seat.

     

    As Davenport uncovers others involved they end up dead and Davenport has to solve this politically tied murder and setup before any more people die.

     

    A thriller to the very end and with action that will put the listener/reader on the edge of their seat, this John Sandford novel is perfect for any mystery lover.

     
  • gilwilson 4:25 PM on June 17, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , crime stories, criminales, drug lords, federales, gold, , , minnesota, , , prey series   

    Audiobook Review: “Stolen Prey” (#22 in the Lucas Davenport Series) By John Sandford 

    stolenprey

    Audiobook Review: “Stolen Prey” (#22 in the Lucas Davenport Series)

    By John Sandford

    Read by Richard Ferrone

    Published by Penguin audio

    Approx.  11.5 hours

     

    I’m off exploring some cop stories and I happen to receive this audiobook last year from Penguin Audio and it has been sitting on my “not-sure-whether-or-not-it-is-my-cup-of-tea” shelf.  This is a shelf of audiobooks that sound intriguing but I’m not yet familiar with the author or whether I will like the story.  I go to this shelf when I’m no sure what I want to hear.  Many times I have started a book from this shelf and have been let down and not able to finish the book.  This time around I was not let down and was intrigued throughout the entire book.

     

    The reader of this audiobook, Richard Ferrone, has a unique “gravelly” voice that is at first tough to hear, but after a while he grows on you and his ability to create characters within his vocal limits is surprising.  His voice threw me off and I wasn’t sure whether I could continue listening, but as the story sucked me in, I got used to his voice and even to appreciate the qualities carried in the sound.

     

    As for the story itself, that’s what makes this book.  This novel has one main story running through it but it seems as if the main character of the book, Lucas Davenport of the Minnesota BCA (Bureau of Criminal Apprehension), has several cases going on at one time.  The book opens with Davenport being mugged after his morning jog.  The muggers seem like a couple of meth-heads, but they have done the muggings before and when all is said and done they make off with $500 (which was just pulled from an ATM) from Davenport and breaking his wrist as they knock him down.  He then begins his personal investigation to catch these two low-lifes.

     

    Seeking the help of another cop, another case is receiving the help of Davenport, this one is one of a stolen statue where the priceless statue is believed to be already chopped up and sold for brass scrap.  This is not yet the main case but in helping on this one Davenport gets help to find his muggers.

     

    But wait, that still is not the main plot of this book.  The main plot of this book is revealed when Davenport arrives at a murder scene where a family of four and their two dogs are found brutally murdered.  One of the victims has his fingers chopped off and the digits are used to write a message on the wall in blood, that message; “Were Coming” (no apostrophe).

     

    As it turns out, one or both of the parents are involved in a crime where they are stealing money from a bank account and through many wire transfers laundering the money into gold coins with the help of several techies from a local bank.  This group of nerds have found a way to turn twenty million dollars from a “dirty” account into gold and able to make themselves rich.  The problem is, the account they are stealing from belongs to Los Criminales del Norte, drug lords from Mexico.  The money is drug money and the drug lords do not like someone else holding their money.  The Criminales send hired murderers to Minnesota to retrieve their stolen money.

     

    Davenport begins working this case trying to track down the thieves before the Criminales do and at the same time trying to track down the Criminales thugs.  All this time he is tracking down his muggers and helping track down the statue thieves.

     

    Lots of action and lots of suspense in this novel.  Honestly, I’m thinking Lucas Davenport is way too busy of a man and needs a vacation after this novel alone.  I think I will be checking more of these novels and probably some others from John Sandford.

     
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